How To Set the Right Goals And Take Your Career To The Next Level in the next year!

Have you finished your goal-setting for the new year? If not, this time of the year is the perfect to set new goals, that’ll bring you ahead.  Just as in any other part of your life, you should set goals for your medical career. Here is how I set goals for the new year.

Life is busy the way it is, and if we don’t set goals for ourselves and stick to them and work on them every day, somebody else will determine our schedule.

Nobody ever learned a skill or wrote publications or finished a grant proposal by accident. That won’t happen!

Forget new years resolutions, they are vague and won’t get you anywhere. If you want to be successful you have to set smart goals and work on them daily.

S.M.AR.T. goals have five characteristics:
They are…
  1. Specific:
    “Become a better human being” is kind of vague.
  2. Measurable:
    How will you know you have reached it, if you can’t measure it? “Finish three internships
  3. Attainable and
  4. Realistic
    Your goals should be ambitious so that you are pushed to your limits. But also they should be realistic. “Nobel prize 2015” could be difficult.
  5. Time-bound:
    To be and stay motivated you have to reach a goal from time to time. It should be possible to reach it soon. If you have one big goal you should break it down in smaller goals.
I personally set goals that can be reached in three to six months.
Here are some examples on bad and good goals.

Bad goal: I want to learn ultrasound.
Good goal: I will finish an online sonography course until January 31st. I will look over the shoulder of Dr. Miller (ultrasound god) in my free time once a week until march. Until June I will have conducted 200 sonograms myself.

Bad goal: I want to finish the case report on the patient, who came in with diarrhea and a potassium of 1,3 mol/l.
Good goal: I will hand over the case report to Dr. Chandler (boss) in three weeks. That means I have to get the patient’s chart today, finish the introduction by friday, the discussion by next Wednesday and the charts by next friday.

Bad goal: I want to finish my doctor thesis by the end of my studies (e.g.2017).  This is not time-bound. This goal has to be breaker down in smaller goals
Good goal: 

  • I will have at least monthly meetings with my mentor to talk about the progress of my work.
  • In the first meeting I will discuss which publications should be discussed in the introduction and the discussion part.
  • I will finish the Introduction by March 2015 and the methods part will be kept uptodate, meaning that all methods that I use will be inserted in the methods part in “real-time”.
  • Prepare the charts and graphics as soon as I finish the lab work.
  • I will read one relevant publication a week.

Bad goal: I want to be a better communicator with the nurses.

Good goal: I will meet with the responsible nurse once at the beginning and once on the end of my shift and talk my patients through with him.

Once you have decided on your goals there is one improtant thing to do:

It is really important that you write them down, otherwise you will easily forget them. So write them down and keep them in a place where you can see them. Your wallet, your desk, your bed. Review them constantly at least weekly.

Success doesn’t happen by coincidence. You have to plan for your goals to be reached, they won’t happen accidentally.

Sidenote: This post actually has been published earlier. 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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